Air Canada to charge $25 fee for first checked bag on economy fares

WATCH: Two major Canadian air carriers this week announced plans to start charging for checked baggage. It could mean a windfall for the airlines, but it’s  leaving many travellers incensed.  Mike Drolet explains.

CALGARY – Another Canadian airline has announced plans to charge customers for the first checked bag.

Air Canada says it will begin charging $25 for a first checked bag on domestic flights within Canada.

Passengers flying to and from the Caribbean and Mexico will also be charged $25 for their first checked bag.

Air Canada’s change will affect people flying on the lowest economy class ‘Tango’ fare.

It kicks in for people buying tickets starting on Thursday, September 18th for travel on or after November 2nd, 2014.

MORE: WestJet says ‘there’s a market’ for cheaper flights in Canada

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WATCH: Sean O’Shea explains how the baggage fee could change consumer habits. 

This change is expected to affect an estimated one in five Air Canada passengers on domestic flights within Canada, representing approximately five per cent of the airline’s customers system-wide.

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Air Canada’s baggage allowance policy continues to allow for a car seat and stroller to be checked as additional pieces of baggage free of charge.

Air Canada says the move will put them in line with other North American carriers.

Earlier this week, WestJet announced it would be charging $25 fee for economy checked baggage for travel within Canada and between Canada and the United States.

“We’re matching the market. We took a couple days to think through it,” Mike Rousseau, Air Canada’s head of finance, said at a conference on Thursday morning.

At the same conference, Vito Culmone, WestJet’s head of finance, said the new fees were a “natural evolution for Canadian fare structures.”

U.S. carriers that fly into Canada have charged the same first-bag fee for years, experts note, something WestJet and Air Canada had resisted introducing until now.

“We  weren’t seeing any competitive advantages from not having it,” Culmone said.

Culmone said the Calgary carrier also lacked the technical capabilities to add on the new charge until recently.

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